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LCQ16: Number and recruitment procedures of senior staff members of UGC-funded institutions

     Following is a question by the Hon Joseph Lee and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (June 3):


     It has been reported that the Council of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University decided in April this year to restructure the management of the university, with the number of Vice President (VP) posts being increased from six to eight starting from September next year.  By that time, the university will have the highest number of VP posts among the institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC).  Moreover, on grounds of urgent need, the President of the university has recently appointed a former employee as VP (Management) not through open recruitment procedure. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:

(a) whether UGC has set a ceiling on the number of senior posts in funded institutions, and if funded institutions are required to report to UGC the creation of such posts to ensure that there is actual need for such newly created posts and to avoid wasting public funds; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(b) whether UGC has demanded funded institutions to appoint senior staff through open recruitment procedures; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) and (b) The eight UGC-funded institutions are autonomous statutory bodies, each with its own Ordinance and Governing Council.  The statutes provide the institutions with a high degree of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, while maintaining an appropriate level of accountability.  Institutions enjoy, within the restraints of the laws of Hong Kong, freedom of action in managing their affairs, including the recruitment of staff.

     Unless expressly provided for in the relevant Ordinance, the Council of an institution has the authority to decide the appropriate number of senior staff members, as well as the recruitment procedures, having regard to the operational need of the institution concerned.  These matters fall within institutional autonomy and it would not be appropriate for the UGC to seek to interfere with them.  

Ends/Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Issued at HKT 15:12


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